Alternative Matter (2010)
Black Sun (Dead Can Dance Tribute)
The Art Of A Soft Landing (Acoustic, Enhanced)
Far Away (Live)
Saviour (Reel To Reel Demo)
Landlocked (Mick Moss Remix)
In Stone (Acoustic, Enhanced)
Epitaph (New Version)
Terminal (Duncan Patterson Remix)
Mr White (Live)
Flowers (New Version)
Expire (Lackluster Remix)
God Is Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix)
Everything You Know Is Wrong (Acoustic, Enhanced)
A Portrait Of The Young Man (Enhanced)
Holocaust (Reel To Reel Demo)
The Art Of A Soft Landing (4 Track Demo)
Expire (Atrabilis Sunrise Remix)
Over Your Shoulder (Acoustic)
Dream (4 Track Demo)
Lost Control (Acoustic, Enhanced)
Epitaph (Orchestral Mix)
Mick Moss & Duncan Patterson
Colin Fromont, Rachel Brewster, Michalle Richfield
Hayley Windsor, Danny Cavanagh, Amber-Page Moss
Jenny O'Connor, Lukasz Langa, Ste Hughes
Chris Phillips, Mark Hughes, Claudia Andrade.
Recorded between 1998 and 2010
Compiled by Mick Moss
Mastered by Jerome Trachet
Front cover concept by Duncan Patterson and Mick Moss, from an original image by Bill Purcell, NASA
Photobook design by Mick Moss
26th November 2010 (Prophecy Procuctions)
After a decade of music since their beginning, founding member Mick Moss is presenting a compilation of sort. This is not a typical greatest hits type of compilation, but rather a journey through the vaults of Antimatter. Mick has put together a series of alternate versions, demos and live recordings kept unreleased so far.
According to main man Moss, what amazed him is how coherent this work was when put together even if it's from various periods. Personally, although I liked most of this material, I feel some tracks are somewhat unfitting in the general scenario. What I'm talking about here is those more keyboard, even techno/danceable driven tunes. Examples of those are: "Saviour"and "Expire (CD1)". Then you have those weirder/experimental moments on: "God is Coming" and "Expire (CD2). The good news though is that on two CDs/22 tracks, tossing those aside gives you quite a bit of good music to enjoy. Antimatter is best known as an ambient/dark project, and lots of compositions are pointing towards that direction. This band also possesses a very pleasant Pink Floyd vibe in its mood. Then you have numerous tunes that include those organic acoustic guitar tones, just to my own selfish pleasure. Mick Moss plays a clean picking, arpeggios driven, style of acoustic guitar and its sound is plain exquisite, even in live performances when the electro-acoustic is being used. Mick's distinctive voice is often backed by nice female vocals. Those of you that are familiar with the band will recognized many of the tracks presented, while new comer are bound to discover an interesting band. There are many tracks to mention, but to sum up my favorites on CD1: "The Art of a Soft Landing", "Landlocked "and "Flowers"; CD2: "A Portrait of the Young Man", "Everything You Know is Wrong" and "Over Your Shoulder".
Basically Alternative Matter is bound to please not only the fans, but people that are into ambient/acoustic music with a Pink Floyd edge.
Releasing yet another compilation album, today we have Antimatter and their latest offering “Alternative Matter”. While we like these types of compilation releases that have unreleased tracks and alternative versions, we are kind of getting tired of Antimatter taking their fans to the cleaners with 2 non-new albums after their great “Leaving Eden” back in 2007.
That being said, “Alternative Matter” comes in two different versions: the standard double-CD digipack (reviewed here) and a premium art-book edition with 3 CD’s, one DVD, and a 104 page book. Out of the 22 tracks presented in our promo version, we are mostly interested in Duncan Patterson’s remixes and some enhanced versions.
If you are a huge fan of the band, you will probably be delighted about this release since it has some new versions of “Epitah” and “Flowers” and some demo versions of “Saviour”, “Holocaust”, “The Art of a Soft Landing” and “Dream”. All tracks will surely generate interest between fans of the band, but we dislike that the flow of the album is very sloppy and feels down-right disconnected (like jumping from “Black Sun” to “The Art of a Soft Landing”, a huge musical difference between them.
Another thing we dislike about this album is the fact that songs by Anathema (written by Patterson of course) are still included! C’mon Mr. Moss move on already. We understand these are fan favorites, but try to peddle your music more rather than live through somebody else’s glories (namely Patterson, who is not even on the band anymore). This being said, the rest of the tracks do represent Antimatter and their music transformation over the years very nicely.
Our favorite tracks of this album have to be “Dream”, “Lost Control”, “The Art of a Soft Landing” (Acoustic, Enhanced) version. Some of the remixes like “Expire” sound very weird for an Antimatter album, but might be of interest for certain types of fans of the band. “Epitaph” (Orchestral Mix) is a great closing track and greatly improves over the original version, something rare for the rest of the tracks (even after listening to them more than a 10 times).
In general, we do like this compilation album since we are fans of Antimatter. But we expect Mr. Moss to finally move on and start making new and interesting music, not rehashing other people’s work. As an anniversary compilation “Alternative Matter” is a great closer to a certain period in the band and it should serve as a clean slate for more new music in the future.
Antimatter was initially the musical project of Duncan Patterson after leaving Anathema. This cooperation with Mick Moss resulted in a debut album ‘Saviour’, now almost ten years ago. Nowadays vocalist/guitarist/composer Mick Moss happens to be the moving spirit and heart of Antimatter. This collection of songs has been selected by him with love for the matter. It is not just a cluster of songs from their four studio albums, but the two discs are filled with rare demo material and alternative versions of these songs. Sometimes it is live and acoustic, other times we are dealing with an innovative mix, mostly influenced by electronic music.
The gigs have always been acoustic, without drummer. During the first tour in 2002, Mick Moss, Duncan Patterson and Anathema guitarist Danny Cavanagh joined on stage for a couple of blood-curdling performances. Later on Mick Moss did some solo gigs, incidentally supported by guitarist Pete Gilchrist (Leafblade) or Duncan. Sometimes with a female singer, since some of the songs were originally sung by a woman. However, the voice of Mick Moss remains the most captivating one, just listen to ‘Black Sun’, a track they once recorded for a Dead Can Dance tribute or amazing versions of the Anathema songs ‘Far Away’ and ‘Lost Control’. ‘Mr. White’, a personal view on a song from Trouble, is genuine and compelling. Antimatter put a spell on you for more than one hundred minutes. Those who ever attended a live gig will find versions that have the nearest approach to the live performances. The jewel case version includes twenty-two songs in a version you never could find, but there is also a special edition in book format. In addition to the 104 pages of the book, you are regaled with an extra CD and DVD. When you are in the mood for quiescent, reflective music, Antimatter is top notch quality!
If only all the best-of albums were like this compilation! Mick Moss, main man of ANTIMATTER, has put together the “Alternative Matter” in order to time travel us in a ten years musical journey.
Emotional, selective, ardent is the approach that Moss has chosen providing a perfect outcome showing respect to himself above all, ANTIMATTER and of course to the fans. This is not another “barnstorm”, this is not another trick of the music industry. Soulful as it is you will find yourself fortunate to own this true release.
“Alternative Matter” presents rare live recordings , covers, acoustic versions of old songs and some new recordings which were done especially for this release. The 24- tracks double album is released in a deluxe digipack and in a limited four disc edition, containing an art-book over 100 pages long, a DVD and an EP!
Let your senses guide your mind to a world where “antimatter “is its only resident…
P.S “Alternative Matter” makes a wonderful gift for Christmas to your loved ones!
Antimatter is a band that is known in certain circles for being an extroadinary and evolutionary band, but not really known outside of those circles that listen to the more recent releases of Katatonia or Anathema constantly. These more dark and artistic Rock acts have been pioneering a solid style of music for a good while, and branching it out nicely to people who may never actually hear that style of songwriting. Of course, Antimatter has been performing their brand of dark, electro-rock since their formation in 1998, and, like the aforementioned artsy rock acts, this more dark Progressive Rock act may be a name new to many out there, though it's been one lurking in the shadows for a good while now. Alternative Matter is a compilation release of various songs, enhanced from original recordings, unreleased, etc., and makes the perfect jump on point for anyone interested in this band's offerings.
Before we go any further, there does exist a three disc set of this recording, but I was only provided the first disc discs by Prophecy Productions for this review. The main atmosphere behind any Antimatter album is a very melancholic feeling, and that stays true on every track. It's this darker Progressive atmosphere, rich with the classic Gothic sound that acts like Nick Cave have perfected over the years that make this album show signed of life. This compilation captures some of the band's more well acknowledged material, which is great for the newer fans of the band since much of Antimatter's catalogue is rather hard to find, and many tracks have either been remixed, or simply enhanced to a better audio quality. The remixed tracks are simply interesting renditions of the already present material and offers something somewhat new to the listener, while the enhanced tracks come off more as remastered material from older recordings so that everything is around the same level of digital quality. The difference is pretty clear almost right off the bat, with "The Art of a Soft Landing" being one of the first enhanced tracks, and it just sounds fantastic on this recording. The same goes for "In Stone", which is just moving with it's somber, melancholic acoustic guitar and vocals meshed with some really beautiful, yet simple, pianos accompanying the music.
While some of these altered or enhanced versions sound great, it's the live material that really sparks enjoyment. The quality of the live material here will often not even sink in until the end when the audience starts to applaud the performance. The quality is fantastic, and often sounds professional studio quality, and better then some of the actual studio tracks on this recording. "Mr. White (Live)" is the perfect example, coming off more as a studio performance then a live one, but then the next track, "Flowers (New Version)" is a different recording of the track, and it sounds great, but the quality has it sounding more raw and live then the actual live tracks of this recording, which is a little confusing and hard to wrap any form of common sense around. This quality also exists on the alternative track "Flowers (Acoustic)", an even more somber and quiet track by Antimatter, which appears on the second disc, and really comes off with a beautiful, yet desolate, overall atmosphere, a quality that seems to be more prominant on the second disc, which features more tracks focused on ambience and sounding either extremely dark and melancholic, or focusing on the ambient noises to create a sort of apocalyptic feel to the music that takes it beyond a melancholic feel, like with "The Art of a Soft Landing (4 Track Demo)" and "Expire (Atrabilis Sunrise Remix)".
Of course, for all the enjoyable acoustic tracks presented on this recording, with "Black Sun (Dead Can Dance Tribute)" being the only genuine track on the recording that isn't slow paced or acoustic, there's a few tracks on here that just don't do too well and make one wonder why they were added. "Expire (Lackluster Remix)" had some very soothing ambience going on, but the female voice saying "The final solution" over and over through the song, though as soft and soothing a voice it is, does become a little grating and irritating after a while. "God is Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix)" is another song like this, though for the most part it's an enjoyable song that takes the ambient noises and other electronic effects and synths to form a song, but eventually it stops being music and just becomes atmospheric noise that gives sort of an astral feel to the material, like one you'd expect from a post-apocalyptic science fiction film where higher technology was introduced. While this isn't necessarily one of the stronger tracks for the release, it does bleed nicely into "Everything You Know is Wrong (Acoustic, Enhanced)", a very well done piece on par with plenty of the other melancholic sounding acoustic tracks on here. In fact that ambient noise from "God if Coming (Duncan Patterson Remix)" that bleeds into this track carries on throughout it, talks about space (like I mentioned the last track gave an atmosphere of), and really aids the song to stand out and be something fantastic to unwind with.
It's hard to sit down and pick apart Alternative Matter by examining each track, especially since this is just a compilation of various versions of already released songs. Some of these tracks sound genuinely better then the originals, whether it's due to the enhanced quality, or the changes made in the music for the new mix or a remix. Whatever the story is, Antimatter take some of their best material, and make it available in new mixes for everyone to check out and enjoy as part of an anniversary release. If you're into the depressive Gothic Ambient Progressive Artsy Rock style of music, then Alternative Matter is an album that well deserves your time, as there's few tracks on here that disappoint, and plenty of well done acoustic tracks mixed nicely with ambient track and instrumentals to show off the band's artistic and creative natures nicely, putting them one step ahead of plenty of bands, including some of the leaders, for this unique style of Rock music.
When I first got to listen to Antimatter back in 2002, I did so knowing that ex-Anathema members Duncan Patterson and Danny Cavanaugh (who has since, rejoined Anathema) were contributing to the project. My first impressions of the debut album Saviour were not so favorable and I gave up on the project. Fast forward to today, and the project has since, released quite a few albums and now has a best of album in Alternative Matter. Times have changed, and so have my tastes, so I decided to give Antimatter another try.
As you would expect from a best of album, Antimatter has their best foot forward on this compilation. However, where this compilation differs is that the project has many variations of songs to choose from and in this instance, there are a few songs that have more than one variation on the album such as “Flowers” and “The Art of a Soft Landing.” As for the music of Antimatter, if the newer Anathema is your kind of music, then Antimatter is a project to look into. More along the lines of the shoegaze subgenre that bands such as Alcest and Klimt 1918 have made recognizable, Antimatter was one of the very first groups to tap into this unusual subgenre of metal, if you even consider Antimatter metal at all. In fact, the group is experimental in how it showcases its music and is proud of it, as evidenced by the many ways in which the songs on the compilation are presented. Newcomers, or those who are rediscovering the band, will find much to garner from the compilation while long time Antimatter fans will find even more to garner. In short, the listener will find something new, one way or the other. Above everything else, however, the listener’s mood will be a major factor in determining whether the listener will get into the music.
Overall, Alternative Matter is a nice retrospective for anyone who has followed Antimatter, even offering some different views of their songs. Obviously, if the group was never your idea of good music, then this compilation will do little to change that view. However, the compilation is good for the many variations on the songs alone. Bigger fans of Antimatter should seek the special edition of this compilation that features three CDs and DVD.
Music is such a powerful form of expression, one that can blow your mind and speak to the soul.ANTIMATTER is one such band that operates at the deepest levels. It’s a given that the band’s releases have all been winners and this anniversary compilation is no different. Band mastermind Mick Moss combed through the archives to include demos, alternative versions, live versions, and remixes of the band’s music pre-Leaving Eden, many of which include the work of former bandmate, Duncan Patterson. Even their excellent cover of DEAD CAN DANCE‘s “Black Sun” made it and is the compilation’s opening track. Alternative Mattertraverses the sonic palette of the band, which includes acoustic guitar/bass, female vocals, male vocals, synthesizers/programming, and violins. The songs are just as sublime, melancholic, and atmospheric as they always were.
Though ANTIMATTER fans have heard most of these songs in their original or live forms, they somehow stay fresh and vibrant in their alternate forms here. When it comes down to it, that is really a compliment to the quality of the songwriting. There are no stand out tracks as they are all fantastic. Fans will each have their favorites. With 22 tracks on the digipack double CD version, there is more than enough content to enjoy for quite some time. The premium artbook version has more than 100 pages, three CDs and one DVD. Wow.
Due to Alternative Matter‘s career spanning content, it is a great representation ofANTIMATTER‘s earlier years. Thus, a fine compilation for old and new fans of the band that will leave a lasting impression. It is also celebration of one of the underground’s best and criminally underrated bands
Anathema is one of those bands which I literally grew up listening to, a band whose sensationally dark and moody melodies helped not only answer many important questions, but also overcome various obstacles in my life. Much as I love their latter day material, though, I have to admit that my favourite period was that which featured Duncan Patterson as a co-writer and bass player, whose talent and skill helped bring to life the classic opus “Alternative 4” back in 1998. That same year, Duncan decided to leave Anathema and, together with multi-instrumentalist Mick Moss, founded Antimatter – a band whose thirteen year old career is celebrated with the release of a compilation album that’s entitled “Alternative Matter” and whose review you are currently reading.
Collections are by definition for fans-only, right? Well, that is true in most cases but not in this one! Why? Though this twenty-two track collection consists of various remixed songs, live tracks, demo versions and acoustic performances, each and every composition on offer is created with so much care and attention to detail that it enables them to stand on their own and ultimately help portray Antimatter as an unusual outfit certainly worth checking out. Those loyal to these skilful Liverpudlians are aware that the band has been through two main ‘phases’: the early Dark Electronica and the current Art Rock, and it is possible that some of you may not necessarily warm to both. If that is the case, which is what has actually happened to me, do not despair. These few scattered performances are of such quality that even the most purist amongst you would appreciate the honesty and passion that was involved in their creation.
Kicking off with a cover of Dead Can Dance’s classic “Black Sun”, the album advertises its uniqueness through a collection of diverse compositions, such as the acoustic “The Art Of Landing”, a beautiful live version of Anathema’s “Far Away” and the electronic drum tunes of “Saviour” before indulging in a series of acoustic piano/guitar gems of which “In Stone” slightly stands out. Two of the highlights of the album are featured in this first part, namely “Mr.White” and “Flowers [New Version]” – the former being a predominantly guitar & vocal piece and the latter a similarly sounding composition but one which is further enhanced by ethereal female vocals and painfully beautiful piano/violin supporting tunes. The second part includes more examples of Dark Electronica, such as the six and a half minute remix of “God Is Coming” and a demo version of “Holocaust” – both of which were interesting but not enough to get me emotionally involved. That was achieved when exposed to the acoustic version of “Over Your Shoulder”, the cover to Anathema’s classic “Lost Control” as well as with the orchestral mix of the truly emotional “Epitaph” – the last composition featured in this impressive collection.
Before being granted access to this collection, the only Antimatter album that I ever owned was 2003’s “Lights Out”. Do you want to know what my first move was right after I finished listening to “Alternative Matter”? I went and ordered the band’s debut release “Saviour” (2001) while contemplating purchasing the remaining two studio releases in the not too distant future! Most bands treat compilation releases as a musical ‘overflow bin’ which will potentially help them raise capital without vesting any serious effort… Antimatter, however, is not such a band! This compilation, providing that you choose to buy it, will both entertain and enlighten you and that, my friends, is priceless!